The Americo Life Insurance Chuggers played some of their best defence of the season, shutting down top-seeded Canadian Bacon for an 11-4 victory in the co-ed softball play-off semi-finals at the Field of Dreams on Thursday.
The victory earned Americo a berth in the championship game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Things Caymanian, who defeated Otis Air Conditioning 16-5 in the other semi-final game Monday night.
‘We brought home the bacon,’ said Americo third baseman Mark Wallace. ‘Now we want to bring home a trophy.’
The normally high-scoring Americo offence struggled during the game, not scoring in four of its seven innings.
However, the Chuggers did have two big innings, putting up six runs in the second inning and four in fifth, which proved more than enough with the way its stingy defence was playing.
After scoring a run on an RBI single by Stephen Ebanks in the first inning, Americo opened up a 7-0 lead with its big second inning. Ebanks once again had a key hit in the inning, a two-run double.
Canadian Bacon came right back with four runs in the bottom of the second to show they wouldn’t go down without a fight. A one-out throwing error by pitcher Alan Markoff opened the door for the four runs. It proved to be the last defensive error the Chuggers would make, and the last runs Canadian Bacon would score.
The Chuggers mowed down ten straight Bacon players through the fifth inning. After starting the sixth with two hits, Americo turned a double play off a line drive to Markoff, deflating Bacon’s spirits.
In the mean time, the Chuggers scored four runs in the fifth inning, capped by William Foster’s two-run double.
For the game, Ebanks went 3 for 4 with a run and 4 RBI, Markoff went 4 for 4 with two runs and an RBI, Mark Wallace went 3 for 4 with two runs, and JB Lovinggood went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.
The Chuggers also gave Canadian Bacon their only loss of the regular season.
‘I guess we just have their number,’ said Coach Markoff. ‘For some reason, certain teams have trouble against other teams.’
Americo knows that too well, and is probably glad Things Caymanian defeated Otis in the other semi-final. The Chuggers squad won only one game in five against Otis over the past three seasons.
During this regular season, Americo lost to Things Caymanian 20-15, in a game they trailed 11-0 in the second inning.
Last season, Americo defeated Things Caymanian 22-11.
This final was what was expected last season, before Walkers upset the Americo squad – called the Le Bleu Drinkers then – in the semi-finals.
Both teams in the final are hot. Things Caymanian rides into the championship game with an 11-game winning streak, while Americo has won seven in a row.
‘The final should be a good game,’ said Coach Markoff. ‘We’ve both beaten the other team in the past, so anyone can win.’
It’ll be Dooley Anderson Speedo Night at the Field of Dreams for Wednesday’s title game. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a pair of neon-coloured Dooley Anderson-model Speedos. The Americo utility player will also give a pre-game base-running demonstration, while wearing a pair of the Speedos.